Engine Bay Detailing
How important is it to detail your engine? It depends on who you're asking.
If you don't plan on ever selling your vehicle or opening the hood to show off the engine, well maybe it's not all that important to you.
On the other hand, there are some compelling reasons to keep your engine clean.
When buying or selling a vehicle it's more likely than not that the hood will be opened for engine bay inspection to get a general feeling of how well the vehicle had been maintained. If it's sparkling clean it shows pride of ownership.
Conversely, if the engine bay is super greasy and sludgy a conclusion could be made that the vehicle was not very well maintained and will degrade the value of the vehicle at the time of sale.
A clean engine is also much easier to work on if you do some of the maintenance yourself. Also belts and hoses will last longer if they are not coated in grease and oil.
There's a bit of controversy over how an engine should be cleaned. Some detailers saturate the engine compartment with a degreaser followed by a power wash and then a dressing is sprayed over the engine and quickly wiped off for a quick detail, while others avoid water in fear of causing some sort of damage to electrical components and they meticulously hand detail everything. Our method is in between.
We thoroughly saturate the engine bay with degreaser and let it dwell allowing sufficient time for it to break down the grease and grime. Then we scrub everything we can reach with detailing brushes and rinse everything down using a water conserving method with a high pressure aerated mist of water. This method actually uses less than a gallon of water for rinsing, and when combined with a tarp and water absorbing towels placed under the engine compartment, it allows us to detail an engine in a garage with no mess left on the floor. Finally we spray all plastic surfaces with a non-greasy dressing and buff with microfiber to a satin finish to make it look like it came straight from the factory.
As detailers we don't like to see anything dirty so we do highly recommend an occasional engine detail for good preventive maintenance measure, to preserve value, and most importantly pride of ownership.